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Superfund Listening Session – Expediting Negotiations with Potentially Responsible Parties for Superfund Cleanup Agreements

Superfund Task Force Recommendation No. 16.2: Expedite cleanup settlement negotiations with potentially responsible parties and prevent performance delays under existing cleanup agreements. (Goal 2/Strategy 1).

Date of Event: May 21, 2018

The goal of this recommendation is to explore strategies to speed up negotiations with potentially responsible parties as well as cleanup under finalized settlements. This session will focus solely on expediting negotiations. A separate session (Listening Session 16.2. Part 2) will be held on June 18, 2018, to discuss performance delays under existing cleanup agreements. Information on the listening session series.

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Overview of Session Topic and Issues

EPA’s Office of Site Remediation Enforcement (OSRE), along with regional enforcement staff, is working together to review existing guidance documents, current and prior policy practices, and data regarding the duration of negotiations and the causes of delays.

An important outcome of Recommendation 16.2 will be to develop a list of best practices to reduce or eliminate delays in negotiations. The team continues discussions with Regional and DOJ staff and management about their experience in negotiating settlements and implementing those cleanup settlements to identify successful strategies to overcome obstacles that prolong negotiations. These discussions and review of current guidance documents will help inform the team on best practices to avoid negotiation and cleanup delays.

This session will focus on negotiations, delaying factors, and possible methods or practices to improve negotiation with the goal to start cleanup as soon as possible. Some identified delaying factors include:

  • Difficult technical issues that need to be resolved in the statement of work
  • Potentially responsible party (PRP) internal allocation issues
  • Limited government resources
  • Large number of PRPs
  • Negotiations where other federal agencies and/or a state are parties

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Who Should Attend

  • Private party representatives who are or have been involved in CERCLA settlement negotiations
  • Environmental and community-based organizations and groups, including environmental justice and other non-profit organizations
  • Federal, state, and tribal agency staff who work on CERCLA settlement negotiations
  • Anyone from the public interested in this topic

Questions to Session Participants for Verbal and Written Remarks

The Agency would like participants of this listening session to focus their remarks, both verbal and written submissions, on the following questions and topics:

  1. In your experience, what have been the major obstacles in initiating and subsequently finalizing negotiations for cleanup agreements?
  2. What suggestions do you have on how EPA can more effectively and efficiently negotiate cleanup agreements with potentially responsible parties?

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  • Christina Skaar (EPA, Office of Site Remediation Enforcement, Regional Support Division)
  • Elizabeth McKenna (EPA Region 10, Office of Regional Counsel)

Relevant information Related to this Listening Session

Visit Listening Sessions - Superfund Task Force Recommendations webpage for more information on the series of eight listening sessions.